Sales of previously owned U.S. homes probably rose in March for a third month to reach the highest level since late 2009, further evidence of an improving real-estate market, economists said before a report today.
Purchases climbed 0.4 percent last month to a 5 million annualized rate, according to the median forecast of 66 economists surveyed by Bloomberg before data from the National Association of Realtors in Washington. The last time sales exceeded a 5 million pace was November 2009, when first-time homebuyers rushed to take advantage of a temporary tax credit.
Historically low mortgage rates, rising property values and job growth are helping repair the housing market, giving the world’s largest economy a boost. At the same time, lean inventories of available properties may be limiting the pace of progress in the industry.
“Housing is a very bright spot in this recovery, and it’s one of the reasons why the recovery will stay on track,” said Eric Green, global head of rates and FX research at TD Securities Inc. in New York. “With people seeing broader healing in demand and gaining confidence because they don’t expect prices to fall anymore, they’re actually beginning to act.”
The Realtors’ sales data will be released at 10 a.m. in Washington. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from rates of 4.9 million to 5.2 million.